Writer(s): Nick Spencer
Artist(s): Joe Eisma, Rodin Equejo (covers)
US Publisher: Image Comics (March 1, 2011)
Morning Glory Academy is one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country… but something sinister and deadly lurks behind its walls. When six gifted, but troubled, students arrive, they find themselves trapped and fighting for their lives as the secrets of the academy reveal themselves!
I’ve lost track of how many reviewers have compared this comic as a cross between the TV show LOST and… (Insert something else that strikes your fancy here).
Yes, Nick Spencer uses similar narrative threads and stylings when concocting this tale of mystery and thrills, and much like in the before mentioned TV show, surprises spring out of nowhere, and just when you thought you were heading in one directions, there is slide of hand, and you are taken somewhere else altogether.
And if you like thrills and shock, it is a pleasant experience.
But this type of tales have a longer tradition than just LOST. Heck, in my lifetime I can think of The Fugitive, where a man wakes up and doesn’t know why he is being pursued by the police, or better yet, the cult favorite THE FUGITIVE (google and then get! You will be surprised), where really nothing was what it seemed, and we had to wait for lots of twists and turns before things bothered making sense.
But Morning Glories is NOT a one trick pony, and for that we have the character treatments that Nick Spencer regal us with. Although most of the characters in this book start out being presented to the reader as stereotypes of a cliché (imagine that) little by little, story by story it gets expanded upon, and we are shown believable characters, people we can empathize with, that gain our interest and we are made to want to know more about them.
That’s the main strength of the series: The plot is topsy-turvy and the characters are amazingly well rounded.
The strength and complexity of the characters is such that the reader will be able to shift between backstory and current mystery not feeling like they have to shift gears but more like they are getting double the doses of the same treat. Background stories are as compelling as current event thrills, and that’s rare, to find writers who manage to stay away from fillers.
The floppies published covers by Rodin Esquejo, but the interior art was done by Joe Eisma. Well, I have to say that although Mr. Eisma is a competent artist, Image did gives a bit of a baitandswitch feel here. Joe Eisma is not as polished and matured an artists and doesn’t live up to the expectations that Mr. Esquejo rises. This is not a matter of having Richard Corben do the cover and Berni Writghson so the interior art. These two artists are not at the same level, and I’ve read comments and talked to acquaintances who were a bit put off by this.
I AM NOT SAYING that the art of Mr Eisma is bad. I am reporting that some people felt cheated, and that I can understand why. For me the art took a second seat to the story of Nick Spencer, and it never got in the way of letting me enjoy the story. Yes, there were panels where expressions could’ve been more defined, there were pages where I noticed that physical appearances were too rigid and little things like that, but in general, I found an artist in development, who is finding his voice, and that is always a welcome thing.
My main quibble with Trade Paper Back is where are the covers by Rodin Esquejo? They were there gracing the individual floppies and were gorgeous! The TPB knows it is selling well focusing on the story that captivated so many audiences, but the covers would’ve given the book an extra value that art lovers would’ve truly appreciated.